|Humiliated Cameron puts Obama in go it alone mode on Syria, protesters denounce war lies in New York
Hundreds protested at New York's Times Square Thursday over possible US plans to strike Syria believed have used chemical weapons on civilians last week.
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backers of the opposition who want a US intervention, and Americans who say they can't stomach another war all took to Manhattan Square.
“US, NATO, hands off Syria,'' chanted hundreds of protesters, weaving through thousands of tourists, some carrying pictures of Assad, and some just declaring themselves against another US war.
The protests came amid the prospect of the US having to go it alone in acting against Syria.
President Barack Obama prepared for the possibility of launching unilateral military action days as Britain opted out in a vote by parliament.
``The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America,'' White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Even before the vote in London, the US was preparing to act without formal authorization from the United Nations, or from Capitol Hill. But the US had expected Britain, a major ally, to join in the effort.
In an humiliating defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron, lawmakers voted against his motion to strike Syria by 13 votes in the House of Commons.
A humbled Cameron told lawmakers: ``It is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.
"I get that, and the government will act accordingly.''
Khaldon Makhoul, 43, a physician who moved from Syria to America 17 years ago, held a sign reading: “Syria Iraq. Same Lies.''
“It is another lie and a lot of people are gonna die for nothing,'' he told AFP. “Where is the chemical weapons? Until now we didn't find it. US soldiers will die for nothing. Where is the evidence?''
Others, Syrians of Christian origin, carrying the national flag, defended Assad and rejected accusations he was behind a deadly chemical attack last week as utter lies.
Retired school teacher Robert Shainwald said he was against any US involvement.
“I do not want this nation to become involved in yet another war. People always lose, no matter what side. Enough is enough. We should just stay the hell out.''
Away from the protesters, as tourists posed with Disney characters under the glare of massive screens, Jose Martinez, dressed as Spiderman, gave his view.
“I believe this is stupid. People killing people for no reason. The US is supposed to go [ahead with the strike]. Just go, don't even think about it. People are dying there, they don't have the power to stop it.''
One street down a handful of backers of the Syrian opposition carried the black and green flag chanting: “Assad is a terrorist. Assad is Hitler.''
Occasionally as the other protesters walked past they traded angry insults. Police watched between them.
Nezar Yabroudi, a driver originally from Damascus held up a sign carrying images of hundreds of dead children from the chemical attack.
“Mr President do you need more proof?'' it read.
“People are dying everyday. How many massacres we have to wait, how many red lines?'' Yabroudi told AFP referring to President Barack Obama's promise last year that the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line.''—AFP/AP